Demonstrating connections between clinical and scientific knowledge sets medical students up for success
Case based learning (CBL) is an important learning tool in many medical schools worldwide. Similarly Phase 1 (the first 18months) of our new medical programme makes use of a fortnightly CBL process to encourage the application of scientific understanding to a patient presentation. The Phase 1 CBL process is distinct from others in that a wrap-up of the case and science is presented. The aim of this study was to determine if the case wrap-up at the end of the fortnight was valuable to the students. Data was collected from a CBL-based survey (n=53). Quantitative results indicate that 98% of students found it useful to see the science applied to the patient case. Students found the wrap-up to be a useful summary of the case (92%), helping them to integrate the science and clinical medicine (90%). The majority of respondents (77%) found it useful to have a scientist and clinician deliver the wrap-up together and that the wrap-up helped them understand how the case developed and how the patient was managed (90%). Comments received from the surveys indicated that students found the wrap-up “helps to consolidate and reinforce knowledge” and “clarifies the depth of knowledge” that’s required at this stage of the course. In conclusion, a case wrap-up delivered by faculty is a valuable learning tool for medical students early in their studies. It allows staff to clearly demonstrate the process of CBL and the underpinning of clinical reasoning with scientific knowledge to improve the understanding of a clinical scenario.